We've spent a week there as a honeymoon couple and we were very pleased.
We had read a ton of bad reviews about this hotel before departing, especially from people who bought the Groupon offer, like us, but we were pleasantly surprised with a painless registration, a spacy room and an astonishing view from the window (also, the bathroom was the size of my bedroom back home)!
The hotel itself consists of three buldings and I suspect that your feelings about the rooms will be tightly connected with the particular part of the hotel they put you in. We stayed in the smallest building to the far left and liked our room very much. We had a chance to get a peek into the other rooms though and the sight was not as rosy - it turned out that the rooms with no lakeview have hardly any windows :o
Coming back to the good things - we got the all inclusive option for the trip and so we could eat three meals a day. Contrary to what other people wrote, the food was delicious and there was enough variety to please almost every palate. The waiting staff was always helpful, although very busy at peak times, so people who are not patient enough to wait two minutes for their coffee might not be satisfied. If you know you'll miss lunch the next day, you can always ask for a packed lunch at the reception desk and they will be happy to help.
As I mentioned before, we were very satisfied with our room. It had a huge bathroom with two sinks, a TV, a working fridge, a couch and a wardrobe as well as a desk and some chairs, so we could not complain about the equipment and furnishing. There was no kettle, but since you could always go downstairs to fetch any drink, I didn't see it as such a problem. The biggest downside of the room were the beds. I've encountered this idea in a few hotels before: if a couple wants a double bed they push two single beds together and hope it works. It does not work, unless the beds have sturdy frames. Otherwise - no cuddling for you, as every move causes the beds to slip apart again :( This could be easily fixed with a couple of screws to keep the beds together, but I guess nobody thought of that... Apart from this the beds were not particularly uncomfortable, but still, we did not get enough sleep any night and that's the only thing I can blame for it.
The views from the hotel are truly stunning and it's worth anything to get a lakeview window. It's true there is a busy street just outside the hotel, but the traffic is not always bad and I bet it's not noisy at all on higher floors.
We haven't seen the roomservice staff, but our beds were made every day, so they must've appeared at some point, waiting for us to leave the room. There was always enough toilet paper, although the towels were not changed at all during our stay.
The hotel has a pool, around three minutes walk from the entrance. The pool is just by the lake, so you can sunbathe, swim and take in the stunning views. The only downside of the pool is that you have to swim in a swimming cap, ridiculous if you ask me! If you intend to swim, bring your own towel and a cap, as there is a charge for renting one and buying the other.
There is a bar downstairs as well, but I can't say too much about it, as we did not spend too much time there. I've only tried one drink from the all inclusive list and I've got to say it was not diluted at all and the portion was generous.
There are two free wi-fi spots at Britannia Excelsior - at the bar and in the lounge area. The connection is not bad, so if you can't live without e-mails and facebook it will save you paying through the nose for data roaming ;)
One more thing about the hotel - its location. Hotel Britannia Excelsior is located in Cadenabbia, a small town with barely anything else in it, but it's very close to bigger towns Mennaggio and Tremezzo (this one within a walking distance), so you can travel to more interesting places quite easily. It's also located just in the opposite shore to Bellaggio, the most popular town on Lake Como. You can travel there by a ferry, departing every 20 or 30 minutes and the ferry stops practically outside the hotel, maybe a two minute walk from the main door. There is also a bus stop and a local tourist train stop, so there's plenty of opportunities to travel around the lake. I recommend visiting Lenno and Villa Balbianello, it's a short trip and well worth it! A 10 minute walk from the hotel will take you to Villa Carlotta, another site worth visiting. If you want to travel further and you've got a car, the trips will take a while, as you have to drive around the lake anytime you want to get out of the area, there's no short way. It takes around 40 minutes to get from Cadenabbia to Como and there you can get on a motorway which will take you straight to Venice and many more places worth visiting.
It's true the hotel is mostly frequented by pensioners, every day there's a new bus full of people over 60. We didn't mind that kind of clientele, but if you're a young traveller looking for party mates, you might not find them at Britannia Excelsior.
I want to stress that we were very happy with our stay and we would recommend the hotel, you just have to check your expectations against the facts you see in reviews :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Britannia Excelsior is set on the shores of Lake Como and is a former 19th-century inn. The beautiful guest rooms are tastefully decorated with luxury fabrics and antique furniture. The hotel boasts four bars four restaurants and two swimming pools open seasonally.RnrnJust 50 metres from the Cadenabbia landing dock, the Britannia Excelsior offers free parking and beautiful views of Bellagio. RnrnThe centre of Griante is a 10 minutes' walk away. Free public parking is available near the swimming pool. All rooms at the Britannia Excelsior Hotel are equipped with satellite TV and private bathroom with shower and hairdryer. Some rooms overlook the lake and some even have a balcony. RnrnFree Wi-Fi is available in the public areas and breakfast is a continental-style buffet available daily in the main restaurant. Both the buffet-style restaurant and the a la carte, lakeside restaurant specialise in classic Italian and international cuisine. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Britannia Excelsior Hotel
- Hotel Britannia Excelsior Cadenabbia
- Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior Lake Como/Cadenabbia Di Griante, Italy